Homeless and living with family or friends

When you can't afford a deposit or rent

If you're on a low income, you can:

Landlords who accept benefits

Try to go straight to a landlord who accepts benefits.

Landlords and letting agents must not refuse to rent to you just because you claim benefits.

Our No DSS guide tells you what to do if you are told you cannot rent or view properties because you claim benefits.

The guide has a template letter you can send to landlords or letting agents who say No DSS.

If you get universal credit already

You can get a housing element as part of your monthly payment when you've found somewhere to live and moved in.

You need to report the change through your universal credit account.

You pay your rent direct to your landlord.

If you get different benefits

You may need to claim universal credit instead to get help with rent when you move.

It's best to speak to an adviser before you apply for universal credit.

Speak to an adviser before you apply.

Contact a Help to Claim adviser at Citizens Advice

Call 0800 144 8 444 or use their online chat service.

Help with rent if you live with family or friends

Friends or relatives may let you stay if you can pay rent as a lodger.

You cannot get the universal credit housing element if you live with and pay rent to a very close relative such as a parent, brother or sister.

You could get help if you rent a room in the home of a friend or other relatives such as grandparents, aunts or uncles.

It must be a commercial agreement. For example, you have a lodger's agreement and would be asked to leave if you do not pay the rent.

Last updated: 26 November 2021

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